Mr and Mrs Mahi review: This quintessential Dharma version of a sports drama knocks it out of the park

Aishwarya Srinivasan
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Mr and Mrs Mahi review

Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao’s surprisingly good chemistry and a narrative that gives you romance, sports and a message at the end makes Mr and Mrs Mahi a fun weekend watch!

Mr and Mrs Mahi review: We as a nation worship cricket and cricketers like gods. Watching a match is an emotion and playing one is a whole other ball game. Our entire mood as a country depends on whether we win a match or not. No matter how interested or disinterested you are, there will always be at least one person in our household who will have the match playing on TV, and sometimes unknowingly we just get sucked into whether we know the rules or not. That’s the kind of pedestal we have put this sport on. Every year millions of people in this country try their luck with cricket. Everyone goes with the mindset of being the next Kohli or Dhoni but it takes a good coach to find a gem amongst the haystack. And then polish that gem further to face any kind of scenario on the pitch. 

Mr and Mrs Mahi’s story is on similar lines and highlights the difference between a hobby and passion. Mahendra Agarwal (Rajkummar Rao) is trying his luck at the state selections but does not get selected because he isn't able to perform well. So now he is forced to work at his father’s sports equipment shop. He feels suffocated there and that place just does not feel like something he wants to do all his life. Taking the traditional arranged marriage route, he meets Mahima (Janhvi Kapoor), a doctor by profession but an avid cricket fan by heart. But he does not know this fact until they’re married and hence cricket becomes their segway to fall in love with each other. But Mahima isn’t just a fan, she was born to be a cricket player. Unexpectedly on the field one day, Mahendra sees her hitting sixes like it was a no-brainer. Here’s where he sees a chance to live his dream vicariously through her. Mahima became a doctor because her father wanted her to be one, but her real dream was always to be a cricketer and Mahendra re-ignites that feeling in her. He couldn’t become a player but he wants to gain his father’s respect by becoming her coach. And hence their partnership begins and so do the ups and downs in their relationship.

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Both the Mahis are on the same page about most things except one. Mahima wants to play cricket for the love of it and Mahendra just wants to be the star. He is greedy for the fame and limelight and that greed blinds him. He has always been under the shadow of his brother who is a famous TV actor, he never was the ‘best beta’ in his father’s eyes, and in a shop full of pictures with cricketers, his heart ached that his photo never made it to the wall. So Mahima was his one shot to prove everyone wrong. But while chasing interviews and followers, he forgets to focus on her training. He did not want this to be another episode of ‘look someone else is better than you’. When he sees her gaining everyone’s attention the way he always dreamed of, jealousy seeps in and things turn sour between them.

The film highlights the line between truly loving what you do and just being awestruck by what fame and glamor can bring you. There’s also a scene where Mahendra’s coach talks to him about accepting the fact that he is an average player. It gives out the message that while trying and giving it your best shot is important, realizing when you’re not good at something is also a crucial factor. But mainly, it highlights the important of having the support of your parents. Part of the reason why Mahendra could not achieve his dreams is because his father pressured him to drop out from cricket. His toxicity robbed him of the time he needed to give himself and the sport. Our parents also try to fulfill their dreams through us, and unfortunately like both the Mahis, most kids have to alter their dreams.

Amidst all of these underlying messages in the film, there’s also the typical Dharma romance that makes its way in a sports film. ‘Dekha Tenu Pehli Pehli Baar Ve’ sung by Jaani and Mohammaed Faiz, playing during moments they fall in love, is peak romance trying to win your heart. Janhvi Kapoor and Rajkummar Rao might not be the pairing you’d ever think of but their chemistry passed the Dharma vibe check. Janhvi, as the coy yet level headed Mahima and Rajkummar Rao, as the husband turned coach Mahendra get the rhythm of their characters right. Especially when it comes to the cricket lingo and stance! In the show that I went for, the audience was clapping and rooting for Janhvi Kapoor as if it was a real match and blurring the line between real and fiction is an actor's job. 

Directed by Sharan Sharma, Mr and Mrs Mahi comes as a breath of fresh air after a streak of flop rom-coms at the cinema. It is packaged to be this romantic sports drama but I like that the moral of the story is hidden in disguise without rubbing it in our faces. There is drama but not to the point where it stresses you out. And because it has a mix of everything, it is exactly what an avid movie goer looks forward to watching on a weekend. 

Mr and Mrs Mahi is currently playing at a theater near you!

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